Thursday, February 3, 2011

More than just luck?

Destiny is prevalent throughout the Fellowship of the Ring. In Chapter II of Book I, Gandalf reasons, “Bilbo was meant to find the ring, and not by its maker. In which case, you were also meant to have it.” When the Black Riders first approached Frodo, the narrator conveyed that “a sudden desire to hide from view of the rider came over him.” “When the Hobbits set out from the shire, they met Elves: “Our paths cross theirs seldom, by chance or purpose.” When Frodo asked if Bombadil heard him calling he replied, “Just chance brought me then, if chance you call it.” In Chapter XII of Book I, Aragon expresses, “There my heart is; but it is not my fate to sit in peace, even in the fair house of Elrond.” Destiny is also used in foreshadowing; Gandalf exclaims (in the Council of Elrond), “But he (Gollum) may play a part that neither he nor Sauron have forseen.” In some cases, Tolkien even uses this theme of destiny to foreshadow things to come. Tolkien really seems to emphasize that everything (good or bad) happens for a reason (not by mere luck alone).


Luthien said...

I completely agree with you - the theme of destiny or fate seems to be huge in these works of Tolkien's - I'd say even more so in LOTR than in The Hobbit. I think (and this is just a generalization) that people like to believe that everything happens for a reason, that the heroes and warriors and noble people that are created in these kind of stories are meant to do these great things, no matter how small or insignificant they are. I think people like to believe that this idea could apply or transfer over into real life. I know for me personally that this is a big reason why I love the whole story of LOTR.

Diamond Took said...

I think this has to do with Tolkien's spirituality. This is just pure conjecture of course but I think it can be explained purely within the plot of The Lord of the Rings as well. I think Tolkien means for the spirits and "gods" he has created in his world to play a part in the destiny. In "The Council of Elrond" Boromir recites the verses of a poem he heard spoken to him in a dream. He says it came out of the west, which is the direction such spirits in Tolkien's world are I think. The things he learns in that dream could only have come as outside knowledge and probably not ideas from his subconscious. I think Tolkien makes it apparent that supernatural forces are at work in his world.

Elendil said...

I absolutely agree. The idea that there is something more than luck and coincidence guiding the heroes is evident even in the Hobbit. At the very end, when Bilbo expressed surprise that some prophecy had come true, Gandalf said "You don't really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck?" The theme of fate and a guiding power beyond the stumbling along of people is predominant in most of his original work. And I agree with Diamond with regards to the nod to Tolkien's spirituality. As a Roman Catholic, he believed that there were more important and more powerful forces at work than mere chance and that is reflected in his writings.